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The room does seem small, I would move all those records somewhere, not much of a breathing space for the speakers.
As for the equipment choice, well, he is a reviewer and it is possible that it influenced his decisions of what to keep. He might've had a different or partly different set-up if he was just audiophile.
I definitely approve Continuum turntable with SAT tonearm and Ypsilon phono stage. Not sure about the rest. But I definitely disapprove the absense of a Studer deck. This is not serious for a reviewer of his rank. Still, I would expect all tube or hybrid electronics and much stronger digital front end.
Why would Mr. Fremer have a better digital front end when he is 99% a vinyl guy? Great equipment and Mike has a great ear. I couldn't live in such a small room that is so messy. I need things very neat. I question how he can get truly great sound with those big Wilsons in such a small room. He must be sitting right on top of them. I would love to hear his system in Mike Levines Barn listening room.
I agree with others here. One cannot pretend to add, subtract or keep any gear he has because he is an audio equipment review professional with a major magazine. Beside that, everyone has their own ear, their own tastes for sound. Additionally, he can listen to far more gear, at outrageous prices than we can. Many people here, rely on word of mouth and what is written in forums like this.
At any rate, I can only take 5% of what professional reviewers say seriously. They have bias, they take incentives and it is very difficult to find a critical or negative review from any of them. MF may be a nice guy, but his opinions are comical for various reasons.
I did find it interesting that he made no attempt to explain why things sounded good. They just did. To him. That’s fine for him but not very helpful for his readers. Whatever few are still listening probably do not care either.
Now look though, he like I and many others here are no spring chickens. I doubt he can hear anything above 12khz or so anymore like most everyone. So does that matter?
I didn't get an impression that he liked his rig very much, but he was definitely attached to his turntable. That's the reason, at least one of possible reasons, of why he didn't explain the choices he'd made.
I would not question anyone's hearing without knowing anything.
In fact, I thought he sounded tired of all this audiophile stuff. Understandable. It's very boring doing it every day, especially considering that there are no breakthroughs.
Like buying an expensive sports car and only backing it out and back into your cluttered garage. Get a room!
Buy a new house if you have to. He may be mentally ill. He's sure not thinking clearly. What a waste of fine equipment. Is this a joke video?
But, of course, what's the trite refrain we're obligated to say? Whatever floats your boat?
Sorry, Mike, but I believe your boat has sunk.
WTF? No!! He's batsh#t crazy. Out of his mind and in serious need of an intervention. Doesn't he have any friends or family that cares about him?
Funny how probably nobody here has met Mike, been to his home, or understands him as a person. Mike is a music lover, not so much a gear lover. He probably gets a good price on some gear but it is still not cheap. The room is his main listening room and yes cramped and small. Messy yep, and he knows all of that already. The system helps him evaluate other components which is what he does for a living. Hearing the system is something special. It may not be your particular cup of tea in all areas but you get to hear what he hears and then you can understand what he describes when he reviews components. Mike loves vinyl and he knows records extremely well. He would help anyone who asks him for advice on purchasing recordings. IMO Mike is a good person and only tries to offer to help anyone that wants to make a good decision on a component. Happy Listening Mike!
He needs to hire Jim Smith to come in and voice his system since his setup defies everything that the experts tell you to do. For example: the Wilsons are close to the back wall, where is the rule of 1/3's. Where is the room treatments? Again, the experts will tell you the room is the most important element in an audio setup.
Maybe it sounds ok, but i'm sure it could be much better.
Mike states at least a couple of times before you see his room that it is a work space not a social space. He has that particular equipment because that is what he likes. I'm sure he gets great deals, but obviously he will spend whatever it costs to get what he wants, so what you see is what he wants.
I've read a couple of accounts from people who have visited his room and they were blown away by the sound.
I remember meeting Michael in one of the notorious RMAF elevators - and as a Coloradoan, well he felt a bit = well you know... from back there. (anybody who knows Pail McGowan knows a typical colorado audio dude).
BUT, you gotta admit, Michael is a TRUE audiophile. Down to the grit audiophile - textbook. I'm impressed with his approach, it doesn't matter who agrees with anything, that misses the point! He's a fanatic, he's welcome back here anytime. And we'll make an extra seat out here for him too...
And by the way, we're all pretty sad out here for sure. Boulder is in mourning. We've lost some true masters of the field.
Seems like a typical gearhead, audiophile, mad-scientist laboratory. When you are as busy as he is there isn't time to be neat and pretty. He's eccentric, extremely knowledgeable and pretty humorous as well. Good for him! And - I'll take the Alexx speakers anytime he get tired of them. Go Michael, and thanks for all your work, listening and critiquing.
I suppose he certainly derives pleasure from his "work." I prefer to have separate work and leisure spaces. I also believe a cluttered space can make for a cluttered mind, but some thrive in such environments.
Every pair of speakers I’ve owned benefits from ample breathing room, especially when it comes to front-wall proximity. He claims his room treatments negate those boundary issues, but I have a hard time believing that claim. If he does experience bass issues, the culprit is no mystery.
That said, he owns some very nice gear. I love the look of his monoblock amps.
Great video. I think Michael Fremer is an honest and gifted reviewer. I wish I could visit his space and hear what it all sounds like.
...That said, I am having trouble understanding why some comments here completely ignore what Fremer says. In fact, it strikes me that many comments here were made without making any effort to get past whatever bias the commenters bring.
Wow, that was illuminating. The tour will cause me to greet much of what he reports with a good deal of skepticism. The room is far too small for the speakers--not sure how he can report on soundstage depth or width given the placement. Or bass response for that matter. It matters not how much he spent or what gear he has--in that space he will get nothing better than mediocre sound.
So, how important is it to be KING OF THE HILL? Does everyone have to agree with your choices 100% for you to be “content” with your choices?
Isn't it in human nature to want to be the best or have the best at all costs . . . and argue to infinity if someone dares to disagree with your impeccable choices? I mean, how dare anyone like something different than you or think their system is better than yours?
Where does the arguing lead to as far as solutions? After all, the manufacturers are always coming out with “the BEST” and after all these years of development and diminishing returns, the only thing that this hobby never reaches is the quo-essential BEST . . . or the price tag to go with it. There is a certain amount of snake oil here, as survival in profitability, in job security, etc. is dependent on achieving the next best whatever, before the next best whatever is achieved -- and EVERYONE lusts over it -- knowing full well that they just cannot afford “the BEST.”
But for those whose pockets can afford “the BEST” how do they know in this planned obsolete progression, when even at the time of purchase, their latest and greatest is already today's leftover? I think the ONLY absolute is that debate, arguing, and testosterone will continue to be the factor .. . and that “the BEST” will always be just enough out of reach to keep the hobby fresh, the consumer involved, and the manufacturers happy . . . AND BY THE WAY -- I have “the BEST” and Michael can eat his heart out in envy! Lol!
I wish I had the ability to look at a room and tell whether this or that equipment will sound good in that room. How is that any different than looking at specs and predicting sound qualities? Any number of manufacturers and other reviewers who have listened in Fremer's room say it sounds great. Are they all in on a conspiracy?
Do you really think a manufacturer will say something negative about the sound of Fremer's room? However off scene I've been told directly by one importer who's been to Fremer's place that the sound was just OK that from everything everyone has said here the speakers did not open-up as expected and could have definitely sounded better if they were in a larger room. BUT when a change was made whether it was a cable or piece of gear it was easily heard and that's what Fremer reports on. Fremer is honest and that's all we can ask for in a reviewer.
Your missing his expertise. The room clutter helps break up
standing WAVES in such a small confine. His listen chair is positioned such, for NEAR FIELD listening.
How else could one hear and evaluate gear possibly colored by his auditioning room, if it has all sorts of acoustic issues.